Effects of Alcohol Intoxication

Effects of Alcohol Intoxication

General Effects of Alcohol Intoxication

  • General Effect
    Alcohol is a DOWNER that reduces activity in the central nervous system. The alcohol intoxicated person exhibits loose muscle tone, loss of fine motor coordination, and often has a staggering "drunken" gait.
  • Eyes
    The eyes may appear somewhat "glossy" and pupils may be slow to respond to stimulus. At high doses pupils may become constricted.
  • Vital Signs
    At intoxicating doses, alcohol can decrease heart rate, lower blood pressure and respiration rate, and result in decreased reflex responses and slower reaction times.
  • Skin
    Skin may be cool to the touch (but the user may feel warm), profuse sweating may accompany alcohol use.
  • Observation Loose muscle tone, loss of fine motor coordination, odor of alcohol on the breath, and a staggering "drunken" gait. See also "dose-specific effects" below.

Dose-Specific Effects of Alcohol Intoxication

(related to the Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC)

The effects of alcohol intoxication are greatly influenced by individual variations among users. Some users may become intoxicated at a much lower Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) level than is shown.

BAC Dose-Specific Effects
0.02-0.03% No loss of coordination, slight euphoria and loss of shyness. Depressant effects are not apparent.
0.04-0.06% Feeling of well-being, relaxation, lower inhibitions, sensation of warmth. Euphoria. Some minor impairment of reasoning and memory, lowering of caution. Driving skills may be impaired at this level of intoxication.
0.07-0.09% Slight impairment of balance, speech, vision, reaction time, and hearing. Euphoria. Judgment and self- control are reduced, and caution, reason and memory are impaired. Driving skills are always impaired at this level of intoxication.
0.10-0.125% Significant impairment of motor coordination and loss of good judgment. Speech may be slurred; balance, vision, reaction time and hearing will be impaired. Euphoria. It is illegal to operate a motor vehicle in all states at this level of intoxication.
0.13-0.15% Gross motor impairment and lack of physical control. Blurred vision and major loss of balance. Euphoria is reduced and dysphoria is beginning to appear.
0.16-0.20% Dysphoria (anxiety, restlessness) predominates, nausea may appear. The drinker has the appearance of a "sloppy drunk."
0.25% Needs assistance in walking; total mental confusion. Dysphoria with nausea and some vomiting.
0.30% Loss of consciousness.
0.40% and up Onset of coma, possible death due to respiratory arrest**.
* The effects of alcohol intoxication are greatly influenced by individual variations among users. Some users will be intoxicated at a much lower BAC than is shown above.
** death can occur at lower BAC in some individuals.


Effects of Alcohol Intoxication
Effects of Alcohol Intoxication
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